The new Nikon D500 may be a reboot of the popular segment last featuring D300s six years ago. It could be the D400 that never came, or it might be an entirely new product segment. Regardless of classification, there has never been a Nikon DX camera with this level of autofocus and continuous shooting performance before, and D500 provides a compelling alternative to pro bodies for fast action capture in remote environments.
354mm (W) × 188mm (H) × 134mm (D)
THE NIKON D500
The D500 features autofocus speed, continuous shooting speed, and a deep buffer unlike any DX body to come before it. It uses the same Multi-CAM 20K focus system as the professional D5, with 153 focus points (99 cross-type sensors). The D500 has more cross-type focus points than the previous pro body D4s had total focus points, and they are spread wider across the frame. The difference between D500 and previous APS-C systems is even more striking; both the Nikon D300s and D7200 feature a total of 51 focus points (15 cross-type). The D500 is a shooting experience can really only be compared to that of pro-body cameras, but in a compact body size and attractive price point.
The D500 also introduces a new, 180k pixel RGB metering sensor. This metering sensor drives the advanced Nikon exposure system, and is also used to provide scene data for 3D focus tracking, improving accuracy.
The 10 fps continuous shooting speed (with AF) and a 200 shot RAW buffer (using XQD cards) keeps up with even the fastest action. This is an incredible increase in continuous shooting capability. The D7200 camera can only buffer 17 14-bit Raw frames, and the Canon 7D Mark II can only buffer 31.
The D500 viewfinder is the largest Nikon has ever featured on an APS-C camera, with 1.0x magnification and 100% coverage. The EN-EL15 battery is capable of 1,240 shots per charge (according to the CIPA rating). The camera can record 4k video at 30 frames per second, and is weather sealed for use in extreme environments.
Nikon D500 Key Features:
20.7 MP APS-C (DX Format) sensor
153 point AF module with 99 cross-type points
180,000 pixel RGB sensor for metering and subject recognition
AF point joystick
10 fps shooting for up to 200 shots (lossless compressed 14-bit Raw to XQD card)
4K (UHD) video from 1.5x crop of sensor
100% coverage viewfinder with 1.0x magnification
THE NAUTICAM NA-D500 UNDERWATER HOUSING
The Nauticam NA-D500 housing further enhances the market leading Nauticam ergonomic experience with improved control placement, a more sophisticated flash triggering system (with optional TTL upgrade), and reduced size / weight thanks to cutting edge manufacturing processes.
EXTERNAL FLASH TRIGGERING
The entire external flash triggering system has has been reworked from the ground up in the NA-D500, increasing ease of use, setup convenience, and reliability. A new LED flash triggering system is standard in every housing. This optical flash trigger can fire at the full 10 fps of the camera, making it the ideal solution for the rapid fire fast action shooting that the D500 is so well suited for. Optical systems, with fiber optic cables linking the external flashes to the housing, are far more reliable than any electrical sync cable system.
The LED trigger circuitboard is mounted directly to the front of the housing, and connected to the camera with a hotshoe cable. This new system is more powerful than the hotshoe mounted LED triggers used in the past, and is compatible with all currently available optically triggered flashes. Powered by two CR2032 batteries, battery life is measured in the tens of thousands of flashes, driven by incredibly efficient electronics. With good batteries, we expect 3-5 years of service, up to 50,000 exposures. Users of legacy flashes without optical triggering are able to add accessory Nikonos (26074) or Ikelite (26075) style bulkheads for electrical flash sync. These bulkheads plug into the LED trigger board for clean cable routing, and reliable connection.
ACCESSORY TTL CONVERTERNA-D500 will also be compatible with the Nauticam TTL Converter. This user installable upgrade provides accurate automatic TTL flash exposure with a number of popular flashes, and offers both optical and electrical strobe triggering in a single unit. Optical triggering, using an LED integrated into the board and fiber optic cable, works well with modern flashes like Inon Z-240, Sea & Sea YS-D2, and more. Electrical triggering supports Ikelite DS- and Sea & Sea YS-250 strobes connected via an electrical sync cord.
- TTL Converter for NA-D5 and D500, Sea & Sea YS-D and Inon Series Strobes (26307)
- TTL Converter for Ikelite DS- Strobes, Sea & Sea YS-250 Available Soon
The right grip is mission control for the D500 camera, accessing many of the frequently used camera functions. Oversized levers are identifiable by feel, allowing tactile operation while framing with the optical viewfinder. The most frequently accessed fingertip controls (Shutter Release, Main Command Dial, and Sub Command Dial, Video Record, and AF-ON) are located here. ISO, the primary exposure control used by DSLR video shooters, is accessed by a convenient thumb lever under the right grip. INFO, useful for calling up the camera settings on the 3.2″ rear color LCD, is placed at the right thumb.
A "pinky lever", placed just under the front sub-command dial, accesses the Fn1 button. This can be linked to a number of assignable functions.
The new AF-Mode Lever is a significant improvement, and one based on feedback from Nauticam customers in the field. Nikon AF Area modes have become so powerful that shooters are regularly switching between 3D Tracking, Auto Area AF, and Single Area modes. The AF-Mode lever is now easily located by feel from the left handle! A separate AF-M lever is positioned above this lever, and identifiable by feel.
A double thumb lever accesses playback and the assignable Fn2 Button.
EXTENSIVE CUSTOMIZATION FOR A TAILORED ERGONOMIC EXPERIENCE
The Nikon D500 camera in a Nauticam NA-D500 housing offers three assignable pushbuttons (AF-ON, Fn1, and Fn2) that can all be accessed from the housing handles. These custom functions can be overwhelming at first, but the creative options they unlock can be incredibly valuable in the field. In short, these assignable buttons mean less time digging through camera menus to change camera functions, and more time capturing the scene as it unfolds. There isn't a right way configure these systems. Every photographer and shooting scenario has unique demands. Some ideas are listed below:
- 1 Step Spd / Aperture, allows changing exposure settings in full f-stop increments. Think about changing from a wide angle scenic mode with relatively open aperture and slow shutter speed to a close focus wide angle shot that requires a closed aperture to shrink a sun-ball.
- My Menu, a customized panel with frequently accessed menus settings
- Access Top Item in MY MENU, actually jumps into a frequently accessed sub menu structure for the top level My Menu selection, saving at least two button presses. (ie min shutter speed in auto iso mode, or quickly define a preset white balance)
- Quickly access another metering mode, toggling between the selected metering pattern and an alternate that more appropriately evaluates the current scene.
- Flash disable / enable, this is a big one! Toggles external flashes on and off, allowing a switch between artificial light shooting (continuous shooting speed limited by flash recycle, and shutter speed limited by the strobe max sync speed at 1/250) to silhouette mode using only ambient light (full 12 fps continuous shooting speed, unrestricted flash sync speed).
- AF-area mode + AF-ON – very cool functionality, for a quick way of accessing a focus mode other than the mode currently assigned and activating it while held down. Placed at the right ring finger via the re-positioned Fn1 lever, the current focus mode be overridden with something like auto area focus for quick grab shots where there isn't time to move the selected autofocus point, or change focus area patterns.
The standard optical glass viewfinder is very good and travel friendly, but many photographers prefer the ease of a magnified viewfinder with adjustable diopter. Nauticam produces a "straight" 180º enlarging viewfinder and a 45º angled enlarging viewfinder to enhance the ease of close quarters work often associated with macro shooting. Both viewfinders have high quality optics, and allow bright viewing of the entire image. A patented external dioptric adjustment allows personal adjustment to a sharp-as-a-tack standard underwater and viewfinder changes can be executed in less than 30 seconds without using tools. Exceptional composition and focus accuracy have never been more accessible.
PREMIUM PROFESSIONAL OPTICS
Experienced shooters know a camera is only as good as the lens in front of it, and the same is true when choosing optics for an underwater camera system. Four optically coated glass dome ports (250mm, 230mm, 180mm, and 140mm diameters) and a series of acrylic ports support popular lenses from Nikon, Sigma, and Tokina. Port configurations are extensively tested at Nauticam to determine the ideal extension ring length for best performance.